We Found an Apartment!

Today we went to the leasing office to sign papers and pick up the keys to our new apartment! :-) It’s a 1-bedroom in the Castro/Noe Valley neighborhood. It’s up on top of a hill (and on the 3rd floor), so we get a great view of the city. We’re very excited! Hopefully we’ll get to move in next week.

And this is our street (steep, huh?)

Full of Schmidt

I ate dinner tonight at a place called Schmidt’s (http://schmidts-sf.com 2400 Folsom St). It’s a German restaurant that has at least 25 different German beers on the menu to pair with sausages, bratwurst, kielbasa, etc. The food was excellent and the staff is super friendly. They also serve brunch on the weekends.

Forgive me. I don’t know how do to flash photography at a window.

I may be biased about the restaurant because I was dining with such fine company.


Alamo Square Park

My new favorite place in SF: Alamo Square Park. This is the famous park from the Full House opening (omgosh, Bob Saget sat on this grass!). But I liked it for so much more than just it’s repuation.

First of all, the view is amazing all the way around. So if you go, don’t just stand there and gawk at the Full House houses. Walk around and check out the other amazing sights. To the East, you can see the Transamerica Building. To the north you can see the Archbishop’s Mansion, where the Russian and German Imperial Consuls lived in the early 1900s (thanks wikipedia!). It’s now a hotel. And to the west you can see (and hear the bells of) St. Ignatius Church.

Second, I like the park because it’s clean. I have been really impressed with all the parks I’ve visited in the city, in fact. I can tell that San Francisco thinks parks are important and makes an effort to take care of them. Even the bathrooms at the park are clean! There are other amenities too. There’s a playground, a tennis court, and a dog park. The park even has doggie drinking fountains.

Shoe art:

So, if you ever come to visit us (please do!), know that we wil be having a picnic at Alamo Square Park while you are here.

Kim’s Brilliant Tip of the Day:
If you are planning on a lot of walking around, DO NOT WEAR A SKIRT! Skirts were not made for walking. Boots were.

Better Than In & Out

I was just looking at the pictures I took on Friday, and realized I left out some important stories. So, this is the second part of Friday’s post. If it was a movie, I’d call it Apartment Hunting 2: Electric Bugaloo.

I ate lunch at a place called Burger Meister (www.burgermeistersf.com 138 Church St). It’s a tiny place next to the SafeWay (the supermarket). They are famous for, you guessed it, hamburgers. You can make your own hamburger with all your favorite toppings, or you can order one of their pre-made creations. I ordered the Meister Burger that comes with bacon, cheese, avocado, grilled onions and mushrooms. It was delicious!! And I couldn’t believe that the hamburger itself was the best part. It was so juicy and flavorful. All the toppings were just extra. I highly recommend this burger joint! And the fries are delicious too (and I mean that. I am a huge french fry snob). Just be warned. It’s a little expensive ($11- $13 for a hamburger).

Let me give you a few tips for eating at Burger Meister: (1) don’t order the meister burger. The onions and mushrooms were wonderful, but I couldn’t taste the avocado at all. If you go, order the San Francisco burger because it comes with onions and mushrooms. Then substitute cheddar cheese instead of bleu cheese. That way you get the same effect as the meister burger but it’s $2 cheaper. (2) Don’t order a soda. The sodas are $2.55. The burgers are expensive enough on their own. Order a soda and you may need to take out a second mortgage on your home.

The last apartment that we saw on Friday was in the Sunset district. This area is on the far west side of the city, near the ocean. The apartment was nice enough, but it’s really far from everything that’s important to us. But it was cool because we ended our long, exhausting day on the beach, WATCHING THE SUNSET!!! :-D It was a wonderful way to end the day! Then we got a couple slices of pizza and took the bus home.

My husband and me at the beach!

Wear Comfortable Shoes

Today is our big apartment hunting day. We have seen 6 places so far and have one more appointment this evening. I have seen so much already today that I don’t know how I’m going to tell it all. But here’s what I can tell you: let’s call it a guide to finding an apartment (disclaimer: we haven’t actually found an apartment yet, so this may be a load of crap).

1. www.padmapper.com
This website is awesome because it takes all the apartment listings on CraigsList and puts them on a map. You tell it what city you’re looking at, then you can filter your search results by price, number of bedrooms, etc. There are additional features that set this site above the rest. You can tell it to filter the results based on where you work (i.e. 20 minute drive to google). And you can set it so it emails you with new search results. This website is an essential tool for anyone searching for an apartment.

2. Make 1000 phone calls.
I sat at the kitchen table in my pajamas all day yesterday looking at apartments on my laptop and making phone calls. It was a chaotic, draining, phone-tag, mind-numbing process. But it had to be done. At the end of it all, I had made 6 appointments (we made a 7th appointment during the day today).

3.Wear comfortable shoes.
I know that a lot of my readers do not live in a big city, so this may be hard for you to understand. In SF, there is absolutely nowhere to park. So you can forget about driving around town looking for an apartment. Luckily, we scheduled 3 in a row right in the same area so we took a cab to the first then walked to the other two.

4. Bring lots of cash.
We had to take a taxi to 3 of our appointments because we haven’t figured out the bus system yet. And it is not cheap and they are hard to find (because you’re not always on a major road). I recommend the Magic Taxi iPhone App for situations where you’re not sure how you’re gonna get a cab.

5. Jump through their hoops!
If a property manager emails you and says you need to fill out an application, print out your credit report, make a photo copy of your driver’s license, and bring them to your appointment, do it. Then have all the applications in a folder in your purse (or briefcase?) in order of viewing. That way, you don’t look like an idiot fumbling through your bag, while the property manager taps her toes and looks at her watch.

6. Make a Pro/Con List.
I know you all know how to do this, so I won’t bore you with instructions. I love Pro/Con Lists!!! It is a great way to remind yourself of things you liked and didn’t like and then weigh which details are more important and less important. For example, we looked at an apartment today that didn’t have any 3-pronged electrical outlets. It only had the 2-pronged kind. I can name at least 12 things that I own that require the 3. So this detail went on the Con side. But then I googled it and found out that you can call an electrician and get your outlets changed. So then that becomes less of a big deal. See?

7. Go with your gut feeling.
After careful examination of your pro/con list, think about which apartment you walked in and said “Cool!” That’s important. It’s really important that you choose an apartment that you love, regardless of location, or price, or the existence of a pool.

This is the view from the living room of our favorite apartment.

BUMR

I saw this sign while walking down the street and it made me laugh. I don’t know the artist’s intent, but I interpreted like this: You’re driving along at an enjoyable speed, when you see a sign that says “BUMP” and what is your first thought? Bummer.

Yesterday I enjoyed a perfectly picturesque San Franciscan day. I sat at a cafe and drank coffee and blogged on my laptop (apple, of course). Then I went to the park and read my book and watched the dogs growl at each other…I mean, play. Then I went to an Italian restaurant for dinner. It was magnificent! The only complaint I have is the weather. At about 2PM, it was hot outside, and I was sweaty. Then around 8PM, the sun set and it got cold. And I mean COLD. Note: please don’t write anything in the comments about wearing layers. I understand the concept. My problem is that I had to carry my sweater around waiting for it to be chilly enough to wear it.

Duboce Park:

OK. The Italian restaurant. You know I’m gonna talk about it. It was called Cafe Altano (www.cafealtanosf.com 602 Hayes St.). The menu carried several standard Italian dishes, and the wine list was very impressive. My husband had pizza and said it was quite good, and I had butternut squash ravioli that seemed to melt in my mouth. It was very decadent. But I was very confused by this restaurant, and I don’t like to be confused. The sign out front was the beginning. The A’s in Altano looked like the greek letter lambda. Then you go inside and there are paintings from scenes off the coast of Greece. So what’s the deal? Greek decorations and Italian food? I guess they assume that most of their customers won’t be able to spot Greek decorations, and frankly, most people don’t know the difference anyway. Their slogan should be “Cafe Altano: Because Americans are Stupid.”

Church of the day:

Oh The Things You’ll See

Yesterday, I went into the city for a job interview. Hooray! The interview went really well, and the people seemed very interested in me. I should hear something by Friday (so stay tuned). The coolest thing about this job is that it’s just a few blocks away from my husband’s job in the Mission District. So we could (potentially) get an apartment and both of us could walk to work (oh if only I had a crystal ball).

I had some free time before my interview, and spent the time wandering around and exploring the area. During my 45-minute walk, covering 5 square blocks, I saw more interesting things and people than I’ve seen in the previous 26 years of my life combined. I saw a dog in a doggie wheelchair, a fortress-looking building that was guarded by 5 beefy-looking dudes, a man dressed like a woman (at least I hope it was a man. Otherwise, she was a very unattractive lady), and an elliptical machine bicycle. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of any of these! But please don’t get worried about me. I have been educated about the parts of town to avoid, and I make sure to stay alert while walking around. No texting, talking on the phone, etc. And I’ve noticed that everyone pretty much keeps to themselves. They don’t want to be bothered, just the same as me.

While walking yesterday, I decided that I’m going to start collecting pictures of churches. I don’t know yet what I’m going to do with them, so for right now I’m just taking pictures. Check this one out that I saw yesterday! Isn’t it a beauty?

After my interview, I met my husband and some other guys at Mission Beach Cafe (www.missionbeachcafesf.com 14th and Guerrero St). We just had coffee, but the menu looks very appealing. A friend of mine says that the food there is really good, especially the Sat/Sun brunch (there’s usually a long line). I’ll have to go back I guess. We stayed in the city long enough to see the sunset, and then headed home to rest up for another exciting day!

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